FEATURE STORY

A South-South Learning Tour Explores How to Put an End to Sexual and Gender Based Violence

August 11, 2015


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Women measure and cut bars of soap to sell at local markets. They have benefitted from the Prevention and Mitigation of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in North and South Kivu Project, which includes an entrepreneurship training component. 


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A South-South Learning Tour delegation consisting of members from four countries traveled to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • The purpose of the tour was to learn from successful initiatives currently being carried out in the field to address sexual and gender based violence.
  • The tour also officially launched the World Bank’s Global Platform on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Increased levels of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) which affects not just women and girls, but also men and boys, are common in fragile and conflict situations both during and after conflict. While SGBV issues are known to be particularly acute in these situations, it precisely the populations in these settings who often have the least capacity to respond. In some cases, SGBV derives from a breakdown of social and moral order and increased impunity.

Sexual exploitation, trafficking, and domestic violence also tend to increase during and after a conflict or crisis, and refugee and internally displaced women and girls are often vulnerable to sexual violence. While those affected by SGBV are overwhelmingly young women, men can also be subject to sexual violence, or be forced to perpetrate sexual violence against others, including their family members.


" I was amazed to see that many different sectors are providing support to survivors […] the police, doctors, psychologists all provide support in a coordinated fashion to prevent violence against women "

Yemendra Upadhyay

Government representative from Nepal

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The South-South Learning Tour delegation, consisting of members from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Rwanda, gather for a photo.


Addressing SGBV requires a concerted effort from men and women across the globe—not only to push back against what is often viewed as cultural norms or accepted practices —but also to reintegrate survivors of violence.

In March 2015, representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Rwanda mobilized to do just that. Convening in Kigali, Rwanda, and Bukavu, DRC, the diverse group participated in a South-South Learning Tour that officially launched the World Bank’s Global Platform on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

The study tour, funded by the Korea Trust Fund (KTF), the State and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF), and the Nordic Trust Fund (NTF), enabled practitioners from the four countries to exchange best practices and lessons learned in regards to prevention, behavior change, case management, and provision of quality services.

Field visits were organized to allow the delegation to learn from successful initiatives currently being carried out in Rwanda and the DRC. A visit to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, gave participants the opportunity to speak directly to beneficiaries whose stories revealed the programs’ life-changing impact.

“Before arriving here [Panzi Hospital], I did not accept myself. I thought my life was coming to an end because of the tragedy I experienced. However from the moment I got here, I was made to realize that I was still a human being who has value,” shared a patient at Panzi Hospital.

The delegation also traveled to visit communities in South Kivu, DRC, where they interacted with beneficiaries of the SPF-funded Prevention and Mitigation of SGBV in North and South Kivu Project, implemented by the International Rescue Committee.

Following their visit to the DRC, participants continued on to Rwanda, where they were particularly impressed by the Isange One Stop Center in Kigali. “They are doing commendable work at Isange. I was amazed to see that many different sectors are providing support to survivors […] the police, doctors, psychologists all provide support in a coordinated fashion to prevent violence against women. I think this is a technique we should implement in Nepal,” said Yemendra Upadhyay, a government representative from Nepal.

 “This learning tour has emphasized how critical coordination is among stakeholders, notes Enid Barlong Kantha, a practitioner from Papua New Guinea. “In Papua New Guinea, this is an area that could be improved particularly when it comes to the involvement of government stakeholders.”

These field visits along with several technical meetings, were eye-opening for the international delegation. “I was really struck by the fact that domestic and sexual violence was so prevalent on other continents, and to learn that women over there suffer from the same kinds of violence and injustice as women in Africa,” noted Stephane Mutia, a representative of the International Rescue Committee in North Kivu, DRC.

At the conclusion of the learning tour, participants walked away inspired by the new perspectives and innovative ideas gathered during the tour. “My biggest takeaways are the referral systems established in DRC, and the mainstreaming of the psychosocial approach across all programs. I will definitely be encouraging the replication of these approaches in Nepal,” noted Yemendra Upadhyay.

The delegation vowed to continue to exchange lessons learned, and persevere in the fight against SGBV in their respective countries. In turn, the World Bank’s Global Platform operations on SGBV in fragile and conflict-affected situations will continue to facilitate South-South knowledge sharing through workshops and yearly learning tours, foster increased cross practice collaboration at the World Bank, build evidence on what works to prevent SGBV, and provide quality services to women, men and child survivors.

To view a short video on the South-South Learning Tour, click here.



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